STAFF WERE HIDING IN THE TOILETS SAYS BRUCE
‘I’ve never seen anything like it’
TALK about doing it the hard way. Hull are back in the big time after an incredible climax to Steve Bruce’s first season in charge.
The levels of drama were befitting a fixture of such magnitude, said to be worth up to £120m and the biggest in Hull’s 109-year-history.
A sending off, two penalties and two pitch invasions – and that was just in stoppage time.
Bruce has guided Hull back to the top flight after a threeyear absence to add a third Championship promotion to his CV.
This, he said, capped the lot: “I’ve been in the game a long, long time and I’ve never seen anything like that. It was ridiculous.
“For sheer entertainment value, that last few minutes was fantastic, but I was thinking ‘why I am I putting myself through this?’.
“We were waiting for the Watford and Leeds game to finish and there were people down in the tunnel, cowering in cupboards and hiding in toilets.
“I think that has to be up there on my CV, because no one gave us a chance. It’s been such a struggle, we’ve had our three main strikers injured and brought people in on free transfers and loans.”
Even when Cardiff took the lead in the 49th minute, it was Hollywood plotline stuff.
Kim Bo-Kyung’s perfect through ball was tucked home by Fraizer Campbell, the striker who set up Dean Windass’ play-off final winner in 2008, when Hull last reached the Premier League.
With Hull’s hopes of automatic promotion hanging by a thread, Bruce gambled, throwing on £2.6m misfit Nick Proschwitz. And what an afternoon he had.
The German’s first contribution was to miss a sitter from two yards after Paul McShane headed down Robbie Brady’s corner in the 51st minute.
But seven minutes later, Proschwitz atoned, meeting Stephen Quinn’s cross for just his fifth goal of a difficult debut in English football.
With the excellent Brady peppering the Cardiff goal with shots, Hull were on top.
They took a deserved lead when McShane, the only Premier League survivor in the team, side-footed home from Brady’s corner for 2-1.
Things looked even better for Bruce’s boys in the 90th
minute when Cardiff were reduced to ten men as Andy Taylor was booked for a second time after fouling Ahmed Elmohamady.
Then, Ben Turner’s push on David Meyler in stoppage time gave Proschwitz the chance to complete his transformation from zero to hero. Hundreds of Hull fans poured on to the pitch, perhaps thinking the game was over.
It should have been but Proschwitz’s tame spot kick was parried away by David Marshall.
And two minutes later, Cardiff were level when Nicky Maynard showed Proschwitz how it’s done, drilling home a penalty after Abdoulaye Faye was judged to have handled the ball during a scramble.
The final whistle triggered a second pitch invasion of Hull fans, who were this time less jubilant, more hopeful as they ticked down the minutes until news of Leeds’ win in the delayed fixture at Watford meant it was time to celebrate.
Cardiff boss Malky Makay, who played for and managed Watford, said: “It wasn’t about doing anyone favours, it was about playing 46 games and seeing where you end up at the end of it.
“I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved.
“From the first day of the season, we’ve had a plan and we were organised. At times, we were derided for not being very sexy. But at other times were incredibly sexy.”
Talking of sexy, Bruce revealed his plans to celebrate.
“How will I celebrate? The way I usually do,” he added.“I’ll have a few beers and I’ll put this big horrible body of mine on a beach until it goes red.”
TENSION: Hull boss Steve Bruce as Nick Proschwitz takes their penalty
LATE CHAOS: McShane scores for Hull. Inset: Nick Proschwitz scores Hull’s equaliser